Our past
The Harghita National Szekler Folk Ensemble came into being in 1970, when a central trade union decree prescribed that throughout the country there should be formed such union bands that would play the music of the given area’s folk bands. The idea was to have rural dance ensembles use these bands for the musical accompaniment of their shows and for their performances. In Miercurea Ciuc leaders of the local union decided that they would rather set up a representative dance group – instead of having the band move around among the different rural settlements --, and ensemble that could represent the county and the town. In conformity with the habits of those times, dancers were „borrowed” from different companies for the rehearsals one, later two days a week. Thus the Harghita Ensemble was founded as a kind of semi-professional dance group.

The first twenty years of the ensemble were successful despite the necessity to conform to the expectations and bare the anomalies of that political system.

In 1990 we managed to set up the conditions for the creation of a professional ensemble. The dance houses from Miercurea Ciuc that started in 1971 set a new direction to folk dance and folk music: going back to the roots, searching for the original. This became one of the founding concepts of the new ensemble.

The dancers mostly came from the young Studio Ensemble, creating a group made up almost entirely of those enthusiastic young men and women who were active in the dance houses from Miercurea Ciuc restarted in 1985 and which also gave birth to the Studio.

For a while the Ensemble continues on the path of its ancestors, gradually turning towards originality and authenticity. It was renewed with new perspectives, new dances and a new élan, continuously working on new productions in which they brought onto the stage our old traditions.

The 90s were the decade of grand premiers that truly defined the success of the newly established professional ensemble. The leadership of the group was taken over from Zoltán Szalay by Mihály András.

The period was marked by the work of such artists as Zoltán Szalay (who was also the director of the ensemble in its first couple of years of existence), János Bodó Bán, Csaba Fodor, Mihály András (the present director), Ferenc Sára and Sándor Tímár.

The 2000s started off with the same élan. Călin Orza brought in a new mentality, the desire for experimenting and shows based on a new perspective.

The middle of the decade started a new process that has been continued till today in which besides guest directors the dancers of the group also took part in the creation of the shows.

It is difficult to specify any one of the numerous performances of the ensemble given that we attach the same importance to shows presented on the cracked stages of the neglected cultural centers in diaspora settlements as to those performed in the shiny concert halls of Western tours. Still, let us mention a few important invitations, given that it is not an everyday thing for an ensemble to spend weeks in the largest European cities or in the Far East.

If we want to mention only the truly important tours, we have to remember the world exhibitions where the Harghita National Szekler Folk Ensemble represented multiculturalism in Romania: in Hanover in 2000, Zaragoza in 2008, Shanghai in 2010 while in 2012 Yeosu, Korea.

And to list a couple of significant tours: in 2000 the performance series in the Carpathian Basin with shows in seven countries, all those states where there exists an indigenous Hungarian minority; in 2002 the three-week tour in Sweden, while in 2007 the Ensemble spent ten days in China performing in some of the largest cities.